Where Will the 1st Astronauts on Mars Land?

HOUSTON — Where should humanity set up its first-ever outpost on Mars?

The ideal Red Planet crewed site should be of high scientific value — allowing pioneers to search for signs of Mars life and investigate other intriguing questions — and also possess enough resources to help sustain expeditionary crews, scientists and engineers said.

They came to these and other conclusions at the First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars, which was held here Oct. 27 though Oct. 30 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

About 175 people from around the world came to Houston for the event, with another 280 connected via the Internet. These researchers took part in the first workshop of its kind, which aimed to help answer a key exploration question: Where is the best place to set down the first human explorers on Mars two decades from now?

Making Mars real

The workshop was “historic,” said James Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “It’s really the start of making Mars real … identifying the real locations for us to be able to land, work and do our science.”

“It is indeed our intent to stay the course. It is indeed our attempt to have humans on Mars,” Green added, assessing the meeting as a “turning point” in the plan to get people to the Red Planet. (NASA aims to do this before the end of the 2030s.)

“We have really turned the corner. It’s now time for us to get busy and make that vision happen,” Green told attendees. “But in reality, to make it real, we need real locations.”

Nearly 50 locations on Mars were proposed as future locales for human landings. Those sites were all within 50 degrees of latitude, north or south, of the Martian equator.

The potential sites had to meet several NASA guidelines. First, each outpost must be surrounded by a more than 60-mile-wide (100 kilometers) “exploration zone.” A set of three to five landings at that touchdown zone would permit a four- to six-person crew to carry out tasks, with each expedition lasting about 500 Martian days.

The essentials for choosing a site involve safety in landing and carrying out operations; the ability to conduct science; and gaining access to local resources to sustain humans on the Red Planet. Indeed, any exploration zone should allow tapping into at least 100 metric tons of water for living-off-the-land purposes.

First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop

Attendees of the First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute last month in Houston. NASA hosted the workshop to collect proposals for locations on Mars that would be of high scientific research value while also providing natural resources to enable human explorers to land, live and work safely on the Red Planet.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Precursor missions

The pool of potential landing zones presented at the meeting is already being considered and culled. But it’s still far too early to predict where the first humans will touch down on the Red Planet, experts said.

While numerous places for an outpost were advocated, “my prediction is that the site that’s going to win may not yet be identified,” said Rich Zurek, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Moreover, Zurek said that NASA is now looking into a 2020 Mars orbiter that would carry a variety of instruments — such as powerful radar to identify underground pockets of ice — that could help assess the suitability of various Mars sites for a human outpost.

It is likely that specialized Mars landers are also in the cards, to assure the welcome mat is fully deployed for astronauts when they set up their outpost, experts said.

New hope

Pascal Lee
Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute, outlines his ongoing insights as director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project on Devon Island.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

“This meeting is a big step…a new hope,” said Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California. He is also director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

“I want to go to every site that’s been presented,” Lee told Space.com. “Mars is a complicated planet. It has the land area of all the continents of the Earth put together … and we know so little about what we would find.”

Lee said that finding a good spot for a base is crucial. The next step is to make use of mobility systems to access sites of interest from that base. This equipment — be it human-carrying vehicles, wheeled robotic rovers or astronaut-dispatched, high-flying drones that reconnoiter landscapes and certify terrain — needs to be in the Mars explorer’s tool kit, he said.

Drawing upon Apollo

“This is the future, and that’s why I’m here,” said Jim Head, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Head is no stranger to destinations beyond Earth for humans. He came to Brown in 1973 after working on NASA’s Apollo program, for which he analyzed potential moon landing sites, studied returned lunar samples and data, and provided training for the Apollo astronauts.

Plotting the first human trek to Mars is in many ways similar to Apollo, Head told Space.com, but also very different.

“For Apollo, there was an incredible immediacy. For Mars, we’ve got time,” Head said. “The good news is that this time enables us to establish the kind of science and engineering synergism that made Apollo moon exploration such a success.”

Repeating that accomplishment will “carry the day” for Mars, he added.

Head emphasized that Mars explorers will need to be more self-sufficient than the Apollo astronauts, who brought everything they needed with them. [Lunar Legacy: 45 Apollo Moon Mission Photos]

“We need to live first off of Mars,” Head said, “so we need sustenance there by using local resources and eventually cut the umbilical [cord] to Mars because it’s going to be cut someday.”

Astronaut advice

Another workshop attendee, NASA astronaut Stanley Love, was eager to share his insights about future Red Planet travel.

“We [astronauts] don’t care about where we go on Mars. But we do care about safety and operability,” Love said. “We care deeply about whether the site is going to kill us and whether we can perform the assigned work.”

Love said that landing is “a huge deal” and, next to taking off, it’s the most important part of the whole venture for the crew. “Those are very, very high-risk endeavors,” he said.

And once a crew is firmly footed on Mars, “just keeping alive takes a lot of time and effort,” Love added.

Cooties on Mars

Stan Love
Stan Love, NASA astronaut, provided pointers for the risks and rewards of exploring Mars.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Love ticked off a number of issues that could make a Martian site unsuitable for human habitation. Among them are not enough daylight for exploration, lengthy shadows cast by topographic features, big rocks, steep slopes and strong winds, as well as Martian dust that could gum up spacesuits, equipment and habitat airlocks.

“Interestingly enough, these are about the same considerations that you have for landing robots on Mars,” Love said. But he presented one additional operational question mark.

“There’s one more thing to think about — cooties,” Love said.

“Spacesuits leak,” he said, “so we are going to be venting bacteria and viruses all the time while we’re on Mars … a sad fact.”

Love said that “not only can younot prevent the people from leaking out into Mars … you can’t prevent Mars from coming back into the habitat with you.”

There’s a decision facing the humans-on-Mars exploration community, Love concluded. Should astronauts visit sites viewed as good candidates for Mars life, if it ever existed, or should crewed missions prioritize “planetary protection” and take pains not to introduce Earth life into places on the Red Planet where it could potentially thrive?

“It’s a tough choice we have to make,” Love said.

Pace of discovery

There’s no doubt that human explorers can trump robots on Mars, in terms of the pace of discovery, said former astronaut John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the science mission directorate at NASA Headquarters.

While there is a robot-human partnership underway to unravel the mysteries of Mars, “human scientists with proper instrumentation … they are going to do a much broader range of science and be able to discover things much faster,” Grunsfeld said.

“Humans are dirty,” Grunsfeld said, so crewed Mars missions will need to take planetary protection issues into account, he added.

“It’s entirely possible that if there is life on Mars, it is deep underground and [could] be much more challenging to find. It could be just below the surface,” Grunsfeld said. “The good news is that robotic probes will inch us forward in trying to answer that question. And we may get lucky.”

Red Planet resources

Central to the landing-site meeting was building a bridge to the In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) community.

“In order to be truly Earth-independent in space missions — especially Mars — we have to use [local] resources,” Robert Mueller, an ISRU senior technologist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, told Space.com. “It’s just a matter of logistics. You can’t bring everything with you. So it makes sense to use resources in the evolvable Mars campaign.”

There’s a lot of work to do before this vision can become a reality, Mueller said.

“We’re at the step where we are trying to decide where the resources are on Mars,” he said. “What are those resources? But more importantly, are those resources economically and physically attainable?”

On Mars, there may be resources that crews cannot access. In fact, it may turn out that the yield from a resource is not high enough, economically speaking.

“So that’s why we want to bring in the miners, the geologists, the civil engineers that do this for a living and put a level of reality on resource utilization,” Mueller said.

Using local resources on Mars is one aspect of a “sea change,” according to Rick Davis, assistant director for science and exploration at NASA Headquarters.

“The idea of a permanent exploration zone on Mars, essentially a permanent outpost … that’s a sea change,” Davis told Space.com. “The second piece is real evidence that we have water on the planet. Those are relatively new pieces, one that is an operational concept change and the other a new understanding of the planet.”

Davis said that the term that surfaced repeatedly at the workshop is “pushing the ball down the field.”

“The good news here at the meeting is that people are trying to do just that,” he said. “No one was negative … more like, ‘How do we make this happen?'”

4 reasons why you should have a multivitamin daily

Believe it or not most of us hate taking multivitamins because they usually come in a pill form and anything, which comes in a form of a pill is often considered to be a medicine (especially with the Indian mindset). And we don’t take medications unless we are seriously sick.

Some people feel including few doctors that we don’t actually need a multivitamin if our diet is healthy enough! But how many of us eat a healthy diet Chances are we do tend to cheat ending up eating high-calorie, dense food with minimal nutritional value. And this usually happens a lot to almost all of us, given our sedentary lifestyle and unscheduled eating pattern.

That is why having a multivitamin becomes almost a necessity for us to make up for all the deficiencies we may have in the food we eat. And given our nature to go on a diet every now and then, a need for a multivitamin cannot be emphasised more.

If you are religiously exercising four-five times a week, multivitamin is a must to take it with your breakfast. Here are my top four reasons why you should have a multivitamin pill:

1. Essential for daily functioning: Besides many benefits multivitamins helps us with our digestion, growth and even functioning of our central nervous system. (That is why you must not avoid them)

2. Rigour and energy: There is a reason why Salman Khan is endorsing Revital multivitamin product for years now, besides he gets paid heavily for that. Multivitamins pills are rich in B-Complex and Vitamin C, which keeps you fresh and full of energy all day long.

3. Helps in recovery: I always emphasise on how supplementing a multivitamin daily with breakfast helps me recover after a tiring training session. This can be a game changer in helping you meet your fitness goal, because better recovery leads to consistency, which will in turn, lead to great results.

4. Great (must) for women: Women lose considerable amount of iron during their monthly cycle. Supplementing a multivitamin rich in iron can be of great help to them

The terrifying truth about bananas .


A cosmologist says he’s found possible signs of a parallel universe.

The idea of a multitude of parallel universes existing alongside our own is not new, but trying to find evidence of this phenomenon is proving about as tricky as you might expect. But one cosmologist thinks he might have found evidence of a parallel universe brushing against our own as far back at the beginning of time.

To appreciate what Ranga-Ram Chary from the California Institute of Technology has found, it’s important to first understand how our own Universe came into being. For hundreds of thousands of years after the Big Bang, the particles that existed were too hot and energetic to form into atoms: the point at which this started happening, some 300,000 years after the Big Bang, is known as recombination. It also marks the time when cosmic background radiation (CMB) started spreading through the Universe – a signal scientists use to look back into time and formulate their theories.

What Chary has spotted is a bump or a ‘bruise’ in this cosmic background radiation – and that could mean a collision with a parallel universe. Cosmologists believe that the ‘bubbles’ of separate universes could be colliding with each other, depositing some material along the way, just like normal soap bubbles bumping into each other would.

So can we start plotting a course to this brand new universe right away? Well, not exactly. Interpreting CMB signals is notoriously difficult, and Chary himself believes there’s a 30 percent chance that what he’s found is just background noise and not a tell-tale sign of a neighbouring universe at all. It could also be a large spot of space dust.

“I suspect that it would be worth looking into alternative possibilities,” David Spergel from Princeton University told Joshua Sokol at New Scientist. “The dust properties are more complicated than we have been assuming, and I think that this is a more plausible explanation.”

“Joseph Silk of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is even more pessimistic, calling claims of an alternate universe ‘completely implausible’,”adds Sokol. “While he thinks the paper is a good analysis of anomalies in Planck data, Silk also believes something is getting in the way. ‘My view is that they are almost certainly due to foregrounds.'”

The data used by Chary was taken from the European Space Agency’s powerful Planck telescope. By subtracting CMB models from Planck’s picture of the Universe, he discovered patches of signals some 4,500 times brighter than they should have been, based on the number of protons and electrons scientists believe existed in the very early universe.

At this stage, it’s just an hypothesis, and looking billions of years back into the past isn’t at all straightforward, but progress is being made all the time. Chary told Jennifer Ouellette at Gizmodo that he hopes to have more comprehensive results within a couple of years, though his ideas might not be proved one way or the other until the next generation of space scanning technology comes online (estimated at 15 to 20 years).

“Unusual claims like evidence for alternate universes require a very high burden of proof,” he writes in his report, published online at arXiv.org. “Searching for these alternate universes is a challenge.”

As far as challenges go, Chary sure has a big one on his hands.



Charlie Sheen kept his HIV status under wraps, but everything unraveled when some former partners threatened him with lawsuits … TMZ has learned.

As we reported, Charlie will appear on “Today” and reveal he’s HIV positive. We’re told he’s known about his status for more than a year and he kept a lid on the information.

We’re told things changed when Charlie confided in several friends he thought were confidants … it turned out they weren’t, and spread the word he was HIV positive.

That led to several of Charlie’s former partners contacting him and threatening a lawsuit because they were unaware of his status when they had interaction with him. Our sources say Charlie settled several of the cases and, in return for money, got confidentiality agreements.

We’re told one of the settlements occurred late last month.

We also know when people go to Charlie’s house they are almost always required to sign confidentiality agreements which require anyone who might make a claim to do so in arbitration and not through the courts … which thereby keeps things private.


Researchers have written quantum code on a silicon chip for the first time.

For the first time, Australian engineers have demonstrated that they can write and manipulate the quantum version of computer code on a silicon microchip. This was done by entangling two quantum bits with the highest accuracy ever recorded, and it means that we can now start to program for the super-powerful quantum computers of the future.

Engineers code regular computers using traditional bits, which can be in one of two states: 1 or 0. Together, two bits create code words that can be used to program complex instructions. But in quantum computing language there’s also the possibility for bits to be in superposition, which means they can be 1 and 0 at the same time. This opens up a vastly more powerful programming language, but until now researchers haven’t been able to figure out how to write it.

Now engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have demonstrated that not only can they do this, but they can do it on silicon microchips very similar to the ones that make up today’s computers, which means the technology will be easy and quick to scale up.

So how exactly do you write quantum code? It all comes down to a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. When two particles are entangled, it basically means that the measurement of one of them will instantly affect the state of its entangled particle, even if it’s thousands of kilometres away.

“This effect is famous for puzzling some of the deepest thinkers in the field, including Albert Einstein, who called it ‘spooky action at a distance’,” said lead researcher Andrea Morello, from the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW. “Einstein was sceptical about entanglement, because it appears to contradict the principles of ‘locality’, which means that objects cannot be instantly influenced from a distance.”

But entanglement has been demonstrated time and time again through something by something known as Bell’s test, which requires engineers to violate Bell’s Inequality Principle. Basically, Bell’s Inequality Principle sets a limit for the amount of correlation there can be between two classical bits – anything above that must be quantum entangled.

“The key aspect of the Bell test is that it is extremely unforgiving: any imperfection in the preparation, manipulation and read-out protocol will cause the particles to fail the test,” said one of the researchers, Juan Pablo Dehollain. “Nevertheless, we have succeeded in passing the test, and we have done so with the highest ‘score’ ever recorded in an experiment.”

In their experiment, the two entangled particles in question were the electron and the nucleus of a single phosphorous atom, which was placed inside a silicon microchip. By entangling the two particles, they made it so that the state of the electron was entirely dependent on the state of the nucleus.

This meant that they expanded on the four possible digital codes that can be made with two traditional bits (00, 01, 10, or 11) to being able to create a much wider set of code words with two entangled bits, such as 00+11, 00-11, 01+10 or 01-10.

CollageEntangled web

“This is, in some sense, the reason why quantum computers can be so much more powerful,” said team member Stephanie Simmons. “With the same number of bits, they allow us to write a computer code that contains many more words, and we can use those extra words to run a different algorithm that reaches the result in a smaller number of steps.”

The next step is to entangle more particles and create more complex quantum code words, so that the team can begin to program an entire quantum computer. All the other pieces are already in place, in large part thanks to another UNSW team, which just last month built the first logic gate in silicon. The material is important, because it’s something we’re already incredibly familiar with building computers out of.

“Now, we have shown beyond any doubt that we can write this code inside a device that resembles the silicon microchips you have on your laptop or your mobile phone,” said Morello. “It’s a real triumph of electrical engineering.”

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/JQobzUqaR4U

To Break Big Pharma’s Stranglehold, Doctors Vote for Ban on Drug Ads

Prescription drug prices have already become a presidential campaign issue, with healthcare costs a top concern for American voters

The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

In an attempt to combat the soaring cost of prescription drugs and Big Pharma’s stranglehold on the U.S. healthcare system, the American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a new policy to “support a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.”

“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris, M.D., in a press statement on Tuesday. The vote took place at the AMA’s 2015 Interim Meeting in Atlanta.

Supporters of the ban also cited concerns including patient confusion and encouragement of off-label, or unapproved, use of certain drugs.

The AMA points out that the U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. What’s more, advertising dollars spent by drug makers have increased by 30 percent in the last two years to $4.5 billion, according to the market research firm Kantar Media.

And in the past few years, prices on generic and brand-name prescription drugs have steadily risen, experiencing a 4.7 percent spike in 2015 alone, according to the Altarum Institute Center for Sustainable Health Spending.

Though the move is largely symbolic, as any such ban would have to be authorized by Congress, the AMA plans to pull out all the stops in an effort to sway federal regulators, elected officials, and the public at-large.

To that end, the policy approved Tuesday calls for convening a physician task force and launching an advocacy campaign to promote prescription drug affordability by demanding choice and competition in the pharmaceutical industry, and greater transparency in prescription drug prices and costs. It also states that the AMA will now monitor pharmaceutical company mergers and acquisitions, as well as the impact of such actions on drug prices.

“By casting the issue in the context of rising drug prices, the AMA is clearly trying to create as much support as possible for a ban,” wrote Ed Silverman for the health, medicine, and science publication STAT. “The cost of pharmaceuticals, after all, is a hot-button issue that has galvanized much of the American public in recent months. The AMA proposal amounts to yet another indication that drug pricing will remain a policy issue for the near-term.”

Indeed, prescription drug prices have already become a presidential campaign issue, with everyone from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to Marco Rubio and Ben Carsonacknowledging that healthcare costs are a top concern for American voters. In a separate piece for STAT, also published Tuesday, Silverman pointed to a new poll which finds that “91 percent of voters believe it’s important for presidential candidates to hold down rising prescription drug costs.”

As noted by the Chicago Tribune, the AMA is merely the latest health organization to call for a ban on such ads, following the World Health Organization, the National Center for Health Research, and other groups. Many consumer advocacy organizations, including Public Citizen, have also pushed for a ban, saying such advertising pressures doctors to prescribe particular medications that may be less effective and more expensive and risky.

On Tuesday, Public Citizen said it supports the AMA’s call. In an email to Common Dreams, Michael Carome, M.D. and director of the group’s Health Research division, stated: “We agree that such advertising is primarily promotional, not educational, and drives up the cost of drugs.”

Could a daily dose of vitamin D cure erectile dysfunction?

  • Vitamin D deficiency is known risk factor in diabetes and heart disease
  • New study found low levels of ‘sunshine’ vitamin raise risk of impotence
  • Men who had a vitamin D deficiency were 32% more likely to suffer ED
  • ED affects 40% of men over 40, and 70% of those over the age of 70

A daily dose of vitamin D could prevent men suffering erectile dysfunction the torture of impotence, experts have said.

Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a risk factor in a range of condition, from diabetes to high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins University believe low levels of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin could also fuel erectile dysfunction.

Their findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, revealed a great prevalence of impotence among men with vitamin D deficiency.

Men who were found to have low levels of vitamin D were 32 per cent more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction, a new study by researchers at John Hopkins University found

Men who were found to have low levels of vitamin D were 32 per cent more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction, a new study by researchers at John Hopkins University found

Dr Erin Michos, a preventative cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, said: ‘Vitamin D deficiency is easy to screen for and simple to correct with lifestyle changes that include exercise, dietary changes, vitamin supplementation and modest sunlight exposure.

‘Checking vitamin D levels may turn out to be a useful tool to gauge ED risk.

‘The most relevant clinical question then becomes whether correcting the deficiency could reduce risk and help restore erectile dysfunction.’

Dr Michos and her colleagues do however note, their findings are observational and more research is needed to determine whether the deficiency can cause or directly contribute to ED.

They note that if their results are affirmed in subsequent studies, vitamin D deficiency may become a clinical marker and a possible therapeutic target for ED.

 Checking vitamin D levels may turn out to be a useful tool to gauge erectile dysfunction risk
Dr Erin Michos, Johns Hopkins

Both erectile dysfunction and deficiency are individual markers of heightened cardiovascular risk so researchers say the new findings underscore the system-wide effects that vitamin D has on vascular function throughout the body, including vessels that feed cardiac and genital tissues.

Dr Michos and her team analysed the records of more than 3,400 men aged 20 and older, who participated in a national Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2001 to 2004.

None of the men had overt heart disease, 30 per cent were vitamin D deficient and 16 per cent reported symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Vitamin D deficiency, defined as vitamin D levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood, was present in 35 per cent of men with erectile dysfunction, compared with 29 per cent without symptoms of impotence.

Those men with vitamin D deficiency were 32 per cent more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men with adequate vitamin D levels.

Researchers said that was the case even after they accounted for other factors commonly known to lead to impotence, including certain medications, alcohol use, smoking, diabetes, inflammation and high blood pressure.

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection of sexual intercourse, and affects 40 per cent of men over the age of 40, and 70 per cent of men aged 70 and older

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection of sexual intercourse, and affects 40 per cent of men over the age of 40, and 70 per cent of men aged 70 and older

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

It affects around 40 per cent of men older than 40 and 70 per cent of those over the age of 70, researchers said.

Vitamin D deficiency affects as many as 40 per cent of adult Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Risk factors for the deficiency include being obese or overweight, limited outdoor activity, having darker skin and suffering from certain inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

The Institute of Medicine recommends cumulative daily vitamin D intake of 600 international units for adults between 18 and 70 years of age, and 800 international units for those over 80.

Vitamin D supplementation is typically reserved only for those with documented deficiency, defined as blood levels below 20 ng/ml.


Hypertension-attributed nephropathy: what’s in a name?

Unrelated disease processes commonly occur in non-diabetic individuals with mild-to-moderate hypertension and low level or absent proteinuria who present with chronic kidney disease: primary glomerulosclerosis in those with recent African ancestry, and arteriolar nephrosclerosis with resultant glomerular ischaemia potentially related to hypertension and vascular disease risk factors in other cases. Unfortunately, nephrologists often indiscriminately apply a diagnosis of ‘hypertensive nephrosclerosis’ to patients in either scenario, which implies that the hypertension is causative of their renal disease. Although nephropathies that are associated with variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) often cause secondarily elevated blood pressure, they belong to the spectrum of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and are not initiated by systemic hypertension. Because genetic testing for APOL1 variants and other glomerulosclerosis-associated gene variants is available and can provide a precise definition of disease pathogenesis, we believe that the term ‘hypertensive nephrosclerosis’ should now be abandoned and replaced with either gene-based (for example, APOL1-associated) glomerulosclerosis or arteriolar nephrosclerosis. Precision medicine will be key to improving diagnostic accuracy in this field. Discrimination of these disparate disorders has the potential to eradicate primary forms of glomerulosclerosis that are associated with APOL1renal-risk variants.

Natural ginger is up to 10,000 times more effective than chemotherapy drugs at treating cancer, study shows

Ginger naturally contains a compound that is up to 10,000 times more effective than chemotherapy drugs at killing the cancer stem cells that make malignant tumors so dangerous, according to a study published in the journal PLoS.


The chemical, known as 6-shogaol, is produced when ginger roots are dried or cooked. The researchers found that 6-shogaol is active against cancer stem cells at concentrations that are harmless to healthy cells. This is dramatically different from conventional chemotherapy, which has serious side effects largely because it kills healthy as well as cancerous cells.

Cells responsible for 90 percent of cancer death?

Like other stem cells, cancer stem cells possess the ability to differentiate into various different cell types. In the case of cancer, stem cells differentiate into the various malignant cells that make up a tumor colony. Although they make up less than 1 percent of the cells in any given tumor, stem cells are impervious to nearly all known or experimental chemotherapy agents. These cells are also able to replicate indefinitely, and they are capable of splitting off from their originating colony to start new tumors elsewhere. They are key players in the process of metastasis, which is responsible for 90 percent of cancer-related deaths.

The persistence of cancer stem cells also explains why cancers can recur even after seemingly successful tumor eradication via chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.

“Cancer stem cells pose serious obstacle to cancer therapy as they can be responsible for poor prognosis and tumour relapse,” the researchers wrote. “To add into the misery, very few chemotherapeutic compounds show promise to kill these cells.”

Kills cancer cells on many fronts

The researchers found that 6-shogaol targets breast cancer stem cells along several different pathways, including reducing the expression of surface markers, altering the cell cycle to increase the rate of cell death, inhibiting tumor formation, directly inducing programmed cell death, and flat-out poisoning cancer stem cells (cytotoxicity).

The researchers then compared the cytotoxicity of 6-shogaol against human breast cancer stem cells with that of the widely used chemotherapy drug taxol. They found that while taxol did show cytotoxicity in a one-dimensional laboratory model of cancer (“monolayer”), it showed almost no effect in the three-dimensional (“spheroid”) model that is now believed to be a more accurate model of real-world cancer tumors. 6-shogaol, however, was effective in both the monolayer and spheroid models.

The researchers then increased the taxol concentration by 10,000 times, but it still showed no effectiveness in spheroid model.

“[T]axol, even though was highly active in monolayer cells, did not show activity against the spheroids even at 10,000 fold higher concentration compared to 6-shogaol,” the researchers wrote.

The promise of food-based cures

The fact that 6-shogaol naturally occurs in a widely consumed human food is promising for its safety profile, the researchers noted.

“Dietary compounds are welcome options for human diseases due to their time-tested acceptability by human bodies,” they wrote.

Another food-based chemical that has shown promise against cancer stem cells is phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). This chemical is produced from the reaction of a compound and an enzyme that occur in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage. This reaction actually takes place simply when the vegetables are chewed, which means that eating cruciferous vegetables causes the human body to be exposed to PEITC.

According to a May 2015 press release by researchers from the South Dakota State University Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences, PEITC has been successful at killing cervical cancer stem cells. The concentrations used in the study are actually achievable simply from a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, the researchers said. The vegetables highest in PEITC potential are watercress and land cress.

This research suggests that PEITC, and possibly even a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, could assist in the prevention of or recovery from cancer.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/052009_ginger_chemotherapy_cancer_treatment.html#ixzz3rx4bmrNA